Monday, May 30, 2011

Starting and Restarting

I mentioned a new project that I said I was obsessed with--I've started a stole. I plan to give it to my church if it turns out nice enough. I asked someone there a while ago if they needed a new red one because I had this project turning in my mind. If they had said yes, I would have got right on it. But I never heard back. Then I decided I had to get this project out of my mind whether they wanted it or not! If not, I'll find something else to do with it.

So what is a stole? It's a little confusing as the word is more commonly used for a fur wrap worn about the shoulders. (Well, not that I see too many of those these days.) But this type of stole is basically a long scarf that is worn with its center at the back neck and each end hanging down over the front of the shoulders.

The only difference between what I'm knitting and a long scarf is the shaping given at the back so that it turns the corner while lying flat. That's the basic idea anyway.

I wanted to use my colour changing wool and I wanted to make the gradation mirror itself on the two sides. I did not want to start at one end, knit all the way around and have the colours just fall where they may. So where did that leave me?

I decided to start at the center back, knit a bias square and then knit the two long pieces off of two adjacent sides. (So it would be like two long pieces meeting at a 45^ angle.) Except I couldn't knit the two long parts separately--I would have to knit them at the same time by casting on a few extra stitches and steeking it down the middle when I was done. That way the colour changes would be the same on both sides. Brilliant right?

But what pattern to use? I was drawn to the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf which I had suggested to Amy as a Red Purl knit-along a while ago and it's been a big hit ever since:
It's constructed from triangles in a garter stitch and you can see that it really does interesting things with colour changing yarn. After knitting about a third of mine, I think the scarf is better on quicker colour changes than what I'm working with, but it will still be effective. I like the triangle construction because it's interesting and because of the shape's association with the theology of the trinity. (Or Trinity? Do you have to capitalize that?)

After making some headway on the two long sides pieces, I noticed that the beginning square was wider than my pieces were now. I mulled on that for a while and finally realized that I had let my math training down (again) and failed to realized that I needed to apply a basic geometric principal. The way I had put it together I had assumed that the side of the triangle was the same length as the base. But it's not. So although my beginning square was the right dimension, my long scarf parts were too skinny.

For a while I figured it wasn't "that bad." Then I figured I could "block it out," but yesterday morning at church (before the service) I finally acknowledged that I had to redo it. So I tucked it away and on the way home, I ripped and ripped and ripped. (I really had quite a lot knitted.)

So now I am back to the beginning. I have figured out the math (thank you, Pythagorean Theorem!), how many stitches to increase and when. I have a feeling I won't be quite as obsessed now that I have a better feel for how the project is going to go (when I start something like this it's always, "just one more triangle" or "just until I finish the colour change") but it's a very easy project to take along with me and knit anywhere. That is always a good thing for finishing projects.

The only disadvantage to knitting this in public is the funny looks and blank stares when I answer the question of what I am knitting. "A stole." Yup, then comes the blank stare or funny look. People just don't know what to do with an unexpected response.

Maybe I'll just tell them I'm knitting a scarf. That should keep them happy.


  1. I'll be watching the progress on this project. My son will be starting his career in the ministry soon. This could be a fun gift to work on for him at some point in the future.

    Will the triangles be "cut in two" when you split it? I have made the multidirectional scarf and am having trouble visualizing how it will look as you finish it. Have fun with this!!


  2. Yes, the two halves will be cut right up the middle of the last picture. (If you look closely you can see a center knit stitch running all the way up. That's where I will cut.)

    Thanks for following. If you want to make one yourself sometime and I don't leave enough details, feel free to ask.



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